Marcus Rigney addresses several issues facing the South Australian crane industry and provides some insights into the initiatives he has sought to progress during his tenure as the South Australian state chair.
Encouraged by industry stalwart, Terry Gilmour, Rigney initially joined The Crane Industry Council of Australia (CICA) to gain a better understanding of what the industry was about.
“I joined soon after I started my business back in 2011 and diligently attended meetings through the year. I was watching listening, learning and networking with people on industry issues.
“I did this for a couple of years and then I joined the Executive Committee and spent approximately three years working there. I was then encouraged to accept the Chairman’s role which I declined but offered to work in a Vice Chair capacity which I did for 12 months. I was again encouraged to accept the role of Chairman and I accepted this time,’ said Rigney.
“The committee could see that I had some different ideas about how I thought our industry should be portrayed and how our branch of CICA should be functioning. I wasn’t afraid to challenge the norm and lead the committee through some required changes,” he said.
Rigney felt it was important to try some new things at the meetings.
“We had been achieving great outcomes in our meetings and I’m not taking away any of those achievements, but I wanted to invigorate them and bring some useful tools to the meetings that members could use on a day to day basis. We are a volunteer organisation and it’s not easy to pull all this together, it takes time, but we have been successful in stimulating some new discussion, interest and some variety of venues that host the meetings,” he said.
Rigney also wanted to see greater community engagement which followed a national directive from CICA to engage the community more.
“I thought this was a very strong initiative. I have been very passionate about this and felt it was a good direction for our association. As a result of the mandate, we created the community day in South Australia, this was held last year – and was a highly successful event.
“We had a lot of people attend and it really bought together our members, their families and the community as a whole. I also wanted to open the dialogue between our members and our customers a bit more by organising an Industry Day.
“This involved inviting builders to a day where we could engage and collaborate with each other on industry issues, issues that members were facing and issues the builders were facing as well. We were able to teach them about what we do with CraneSafe, what we are doing in terms of CrewSafe and those sorts of programs and this was also a highly successful day,” said Rigney.
The third initiative Rigney wanted to introduce involved recognising the people working within the industry including crane operators, riggers and trainees.
“In the past, we had tried to organise an Awards Night. This worked initially but failed the following year, so it was my mission to bring back the Awards Night and reinvigorate it.
“With the help of the steering committee, we organised the night at the Adelaide Oval which was highly attended, and we nominated our Operator of the Year, Rigger of the Year, Outstanding Achiever of the Year, Trainee of the Year and various other awards.
“This was a good way to gather together as an association, to recognise the hard work of our members and also to recognise the excellence of individuals within our industry. None of this would have been possible without the help and commitment of our steering committee. I guess I bring some level of integration to the table but it’s the volunteers on the committee that put in the hard yards to get it done. There are nine volunteers on the steering committee.
Rigney has been the chair for two years and he’s coming up to his third year of tenure. He has been really happy with the changes the committee has been able to make in the last two years and he can now see they are in a position to work on these achievements and enhance them.
There are 42 Crane Owner Members in the South Australian branch and 14 Associate Members which is a very strong representation of the crane operators in the state.
According to Rigney, the Steering Committee has been working hard on road access issues with South Australia experiencing the same issues crane companies are experiencing nationally.
“The committee has made progress in issues relating to crane access including achieving a documented tolerance on our axle masses which has been a really good achievement.
“There’s been a consistent collaboration with the SA Department of Transport regarding streamlining access issues and permits. Self-weighing is another topic we are working on, which again, involves close collaboration with the department. As they seek to make changes nationally, we are trying to lobby for our improvements from a state perspective,” he said.
COVID 19 has certainly impacted the South Australian economy and as with other states, it has left members a little unsure on what the immediate future holds says Rigney.
“In South Australia, we’ve been fortunate that our construction sector has managed to continue to function well. I think everyone will agree that we’ve experienced a slight downturn across the board but we’re still active, we’re still building and we’re still completing buildings. We have seen some projects put on hold which will cause a downturn as we wait for them to come back online.
“I can see a really strong recovery on the horizon, and we need to work towards this. I think it’s a matter of getting through the remainder of 2020 and preparing for a strong bounce back in 2021,” he said.
“If I were to sit back and analyse the impact and success of our functions and events, I would clearly identify the Industry and Community Days as being the events which really struck a chord our association. To be able to collaborate with builders on issues like construction site access and then to engage with the community, were very positive outcomes.
“COVID has obviously created some doubt as to whether we are able to have these events this year but one thing I have been strong on is that COVID does not stop us from planning. Currently, we are in the process of planning the events, so if granted permission, we are in a position to stage them at short notice.
Rigney is hopeful of hosting the events in early November and work is being done on securing the venue for the Industry Day, where cranes will be on display and builders will be invited to attend on the Friday afternoon.
“We’ll engage with them, talk about changes in industry including major inspections, updates on CrewSafe, the performance of CraneSafe and other initiatives that CICA is implementing that are a ‘spin off’ from the benefits of CraneSafe.
“On the Saturday the cranes will still be there, and we’ll stage the Community Day. We’ll be inviting local communities along, families, possibly some schools to come and have a look at the cranes, talk about our industry and probably talk about possible career paths for those who might be interested,” said Rigney.
“We are also looking at a traineeship program in South Australia as we are seeing some respective movements in New South Wales, Victoria and Western Australia. If I’m Chairman in 2021, I’m going to place a focus on traineeships and finally sort out the problems we’ve been having there. It’s going to take a considerable amount of work, but I have the right team around me to make it happen,” he said.